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Line Editing for Filter Words

Line editing for filter words is a skill to master for line editors.

Tips on Line Editing for Filter Words

Filter words in fiction are words that get in the way of the reader experiencing the moment. These often relate to senses: “I saw John get out of the car” instead of “John got out of the car.” The second version allows the reader to experience the scene more directly, as if they are right there themselves watching John get out of the car.

Similarly, “Roger heard the bell ring” versus “The bell rang.” In the first case, we are a step back from the bell, and in the second, we’re right there as the bell rings.

One of the most common filtering phrases you’ll encounter as a line editor is pronoun + felt:

Here’s an example:

I thought of Good Dog’s injuries, and just as Beyok predicted, I felt my blood run hot.

Removing those filter words, it becomes:

I thought of Good Dog’s injuries, and just as Beyok predicted, my blood ran hot.

A writer colleague of mine gave me words to live by: “Never let a character feel something unless they’re actually touching it.”

Intermediate Line Editing for Fiction to learn line editing for filter words
Intermediate Line Editing for Fiction class teaches skills like line editing for filter words.

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  • Line Editing for Filter Words

    Line editing for filter words is a skill to master for line editors. Tips on Line Editing for Filter Words Filter words in fiction are words that get in the way of the reader experiencing the moment. These often relate to senses: “I saw John get out of the car” instead of “John got out…

    Read more…

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